Roma drop valuable points in pursuit of top four after scrappy stalemate with Lecce

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Roma drop valuable points in pursuit of top four after scrappy stalemate with Lecce
There was nothing to separate the two sides
There was nothing to separate the two sides
AFP
Leece were left to rue what might have been after seeing a glut of chances go to waste in an otherwise impressive goalless draw with Roma, following 11 defeats in 13 previous H2Hs with their illustrious visitors.

With a three-point gap between themselves and the bottom three heading into the game, the last thing Leece would have wanted was the visit of a Roma side aiming to end a five-year absence of UEFA Champions League football following seven wins from their nine previous Serie A games.

However, the hosts made a spritely start here, with Marin Pongračić and Nikola Krstović both having early opportunities, before Roberto Piccoli’s speculative effort from distance sailed wide of the post after latching onto Patrick Dorgu’s pass.

Daniele De Rossi’s side were living dangerously, and Antonio Gallo was inches away from breaking the deadlock with a ferocious long-range strike which deflected into the side netting.

There was wave after wave of pressure from Luca Gotti’s side, with Mile Svilar called into action to deny Dorgu at his near post. The Serbian goalkeeper then did well to keep hold of a powerful Piccoli effort, with Roma eagerly awaiting a reprieve of the HT whistle.

Piccoli was an ever-present threat, and showed tremendous desire to work his way past Evan Ndicka, but rifled another attempt over the bar. Angeliño almost provided a late sucker punch before the break for Roma, as he shot narrowly wide following a superbly-worked set-piece.

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Roma had a penalty appeal turned down after the restart with Alexis Blin appearing to clatter into Nicola Zalewski. With no spot-kick awarded, play continued, and Pontus Almqvist ran almost the full length of the pitch on the counter-attack to tee up Ylber Ramadani, whose shot was deflected wide of the post.

Leece were not attacking with as much ferocity compared to the first half, but De Rossi’s side were showing few signs of improvement following a lacklustre display in the opening 45 minutes.

Dorgu wasted a golden opportunity to make Roma pay for their sloppiness, but inexplicably fired wide following Krstović's surging run and cross.

It was then Roma’s turn to spurn a gilt-edged chance, with Houssem Aouar denied by Wladimiro Falcone in a one-on-one chance after some fine link-up play involving Bryan Cristante and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Ultimately, there was nothing to separate the two sides, with De Rossi’s side more than a tad fortunate to snatch a point away from the Stadio Via del mare.

Their run of scoring in 11 consecutive SA games comes to an end, while new Leece head coach Gotti now has one win and a draw in his first two games in charge.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Nikola Krstović (Leece)

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